Puzzle and Dragons Z + Puzzle and Dragons Super Mario Bros. Edition Review
Anytime you try to mix to mix a niche game franchises with a much loved franchise, there is always a bit of hesitation. How will this turn out? Will the developers be faithful to the content and play style? Will it live up to the name? All of these thoughts and more entered my mind when Nintendo informed us that Puzzle and Dragons Z + Puzzle and Dragons Super Mario Bros. Edition would be coming to North America this year.
I’ve never had the privilege of playing a Puzzle and Dragons game, but I definitely knew about it. It was yet another match 3 game, in the vein of puzzle quest. Players upgraded characters which are used to defeat enemies. Match three red orbs to make your red (fire) warriors attack, green for wood, blue for water, and so on. It is a simple idea, a simple formula, which ultimately leads to a pretty straight forward and sometimes easy experience.
There is definitely a learning curve that takes a little while to master. As you move orbs around the board, other orbs move from their original positions to new positions. With a limited time before the game locks in your combinations, it is important to take your time and map out each and every move to maximize the damage you will deliver. Once you come to terms with the difficulty curve, the Puzzle and Dragons Z portion of the game can be quickly finished. I found very little challenge awaited me, at least in comparison to the Mario version. That is why it is ironic that the game pushes you towards the easier, more user friendly Super Mario Bros. portion; of the two games, I think the Mario Bros. part was more difficult in the long run, and more enjoyable.
There is a story in Puzzle and Dragons Z, and it largely mimics your traditional JRPG mold: an evil organization bent on destroying and ruling the world. It’s very traditional in how it develops, but fortunately,the lackluster story is partially mitigated by often humorous dialogue. What I like about this version over the Super Mario Bros. version is the ability to walk around the over worlds. It really gives the game that RPG feel outside of the Match 3 portions. If you are looking to take advantage of everything this collection offers, you will definitely be missing out if you don`t load up Puzzle and Dragons Z! While Mario might steal the show, the game`s mechanics were still born under the Puzzle and Dragons name; don`t forget that when you load up either mode.
If You are Worried about Sales, Super Mariofy It!
I cannot help but assume that Mario was added on to sell this game in North America. Without it, Puzzle and Dragons Z is just another Match 3, RPG puzzle game that can be found for 0.99 on mobile – if not for free with micro-transactions. Something had to make this title appealing to the 3DS consumer, and that thing is obviously Mario.
Job well done. Even if you never plan on playing the Puzzle and Dragons Z portion of the game – which in my opinion would be a huge mistake – I cannot recommend the Super Mario Bros. portion enough!
This really is a great introduction into the world of Puzzle and Dragons. Each level has a specific number of battles that need to be won in order to complete the level. As you defeat enemies, they join your team as allies. Early on your team will generally consist of a Mario or Luigi Team Leader, a group of Goomba’s and Koopa’s as your attacking force, and Mario, Luigi, or Toad helpers. The game is well explained right off the top, leaving players only the challenge of moving the orbs around the screen to create the best possible combination. The more group`s of three or more you make, the more attack you will do.
Each element lends itself to being more effective against certain enemies, and as you play, this will just become second nature. While the challenge off the top isn’t that difficult, things really begin to ramp up after World 1. Trying to organize and create the best possible team also adds a level of depth not normally found in Match 3 games. Fortunately, the game allows you to store multiple teams that can be tailored for specific matches or worlds. For a Wood heavy level, a strong Fire team would be the best option. If you don`t want to spend the time creating a team for each level, load up one of your ready-to-battle groups! Mix up your combinations for the best all around team, and make sure to take notice of your leaders and helpers special abilities.
I don’t want to spoil too much though. If you are into match 3 puzzles games, RPG’s, and Super Mario, then picking up Puzzle and Dragons Z + Puzzle and Dragons Super Mario Bros. Edition is a no brainer!